Thursday, July 24, 2014

New and Improved No Sugar Peach Ice Cream

Once again I attempted making an ice cream without sugar, yet still creamy. All in all, I am very pleased indeed, at how it came out. As a recap, in case you are just seeing this for the first time: I made an extremely high fat Peach Cheesecake Ice Cream for my sister-in law's birthday dinner. My goal was to have an intensely creamy-smooth mouth feel, and this ice cream had that to the nth degree. However. Not everyone would really want to make something so high fat/calorie, and since this ice cream did nothing good for my diabetic glucose numbers, I decided to try a no-sugar ice cream, also going quite low in the fats category. The flavor of this ice cream was great, but the mouth feel was intensely wrong. It also got hard as a rock in the freezer, making it impossible to scoop out, ice crystals being the main culprit.
No Sugar Peach Ice Creamier, front. Difficult to scoop first attempt behind.

Preventing Ice Crystals in Ice Cream

In the meantime, I had done some research on what prevents the formation of ice crystals in ice creams. Many things are helpful, sugar being high on the list. I wanted to use stevia and still get a relatively good mouth feel. Some of the other things that could help with the prevention of ice crystals forming are gelatin, high fat/oil content (fats don't freeze solid), alcohol, and things like xanthan gum, guar gum or locust bean gum. These last three are found in many products and most ice creams, just because of the ability to keep the ice cream creamy. Purists may not want to add these extras, but guar gum and locust bean gum are natural products after all. Xanthan gum is a culture grown product. I also dislike the flavor of xanthan gum. 

I do have guar gum in my pantry for gluten-free baking, so I didn't need to go searching. It is sold in the local health food store, as there are many people here with gluten intolerance. It is expensive, but little is needed per recipe. I did more research on the amount of guar gum to use in a recipe and I came away cautious. It seems that guar gum can become ropy or stringy in too large amounts, or if it clumps in a mixture. I opted to try the smallest amount recommended: 1/4 teaspoon per quart of mixture.
Much easier to scoop out, No Sugar Peach Ice Creamier shown in front.

I found out in reading that most cream cheese is stabilized with guar gum or one of these gums. The fact that I used an entire 8-ounce block in my Peach Cheesecake Ice Cream most likely contributed to the creaminess with the addition of guar gum in the cream cheese. The fact that egg yolks are higher in fat made me decide to use a larger amount of egg yolks in the custard part of the recipe. Instead of only 2, I upped the amount to 5, while lowering the 2% milk amount. I did also use 1 tablespoon of Cointreau, a lovely orange flavored liqueur. I could have added in more than only one tablespoon, but I wanted the peach flavor to shine through, not the liqueur.

The result was stellar, for a no sugar recipe. After storing the ice cream in the freezer overnight, I could still manage to scoop it out into the dish, whereas with the first no-sugar recipe I could only get chips of the ice cream out (emphasis on ICE). While ice crystals are still apparent in this second attempt, they seem to easily melt into a smooth and creamy product in the mouth, giving that nice mouth feel I so desire. 

No Sugar Peach Ice Creamier

makes 1 quart

2 peaches, approximately
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 ounces cream cheese 
1 tablespoon Cointreau, or alcohol of choice 
1 cup 2% milk
5 egg yolks

8 packets Stevia (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
Nearing 170 degrees on my Thermapen, temp rises very quickly.          Right, custard coats a spoon.

Make the custard: pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat to almost scalded; as soon as any little bubbles appear around the edges of the milk. Have the egg yolks in a medium bowl or 2 cup measure. Once milk is hot, pour it slowly at first, whisking constantly into the yolks. Once milk is all whisked in, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat on about medium. Whisk constantly, until the mixture will very obviously coat the back of a spoon, about 170 to 175 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Do not heat any longer or the mixture will turn into scrambled eggs. Remove the pan from heat immediately and set the pan into a bowl with ice water, to cool quickly.

Peel the peaches , remove pits and cut into chunks. Place them in a blender with the lemon juice. Blend smooth; you should have about 1 1/2 cups. Add in the cream cheese and Cointreau and puree completely. Once the custard is cooled to no more than tepid, add it into the blender until all the ingredients are homogenous. Pour the mixture into a lidded container and chill completely.

Next day, pour out all the packets of stevia into a small bowl and add the guar gum. Mix well, then place this mixture into a small, fine-holed sieve; set aside. Pour the chilled custard mixture into your ice cream machine and follow manufacturer's directions to churn. While the machine is running, use the sieve to sprinkle the stevia and guar gum mixture over the custard. This is to prevent any clumps forming. 

If your machine prevents you from sprinkling this during churning, this can be done beforehand, but be sure to sprinkle lightly over the whole surface while mixing in. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.